“Using our monitoring of the StateNet database we are seeing a significant increase in the number of proposed bills affecting private park operations across the country,” said Jeff Sims, director of state relations and program advocacy for the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), in a press release.
Bills targeting increases in the minimum wage have been proposed in several states, including Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia. In most cases, states are proposing that their minimum wages be increased to at least $10 per hour, although some states are proposing graduated minimum wage increases over the next couple of years.
In South Carolina, legislation has been proposed that would give local school districts more autonomy in structuring their academic calendars as well as the number of days students need to be in school. Private parks often suffer from earlier school start dates not only because it shortens the summer travel season, but because it cuts off parks’ access to high school student labor.
Virginia has proposed legislation to allow counties to increase their transient occupancy taxes from 2% to 5%, while a proposal was made in South Dakota to increase licensing fees for food service, lodging and camping establishments.
In New York, legislation has been proposed that would make it illegal for registered sex offenders to stay at public parks. This legislation could potentially prompt park operators to start running background checks on their guests.
“Several of our state associations have asked us to monitor this type of legislation,” Sims said. “The question is, ‘What impact will legislation like this in the public sector have on the private sector and how would a law like this be monitored and implemented in the private sector?’ We are such a family oriented industry and the safety of our guests is always top of mind.”
ARVC monitors state and federal legislation on a daily basis and provides its findings as actionable intelligence to the association’s affiliated state campground association executives.